Friday, June 08, 2012
BLEAK SPOUSE: Chapter 15 – The Young Extortionist
WEDLOCK HOUSE. Lady Wedlock is searching agency websites for a replacement au pair, preferably this time an ugly one, when her mobile phone rings. A glance at the screen tells her that the call is from an unknown number. She initially ignores it, assuming that it's just another call from some claims management company, telling her that she's entitled to £6,500 for some accident that she's never had.
The phone continues to ring (she has switched off the answering service, as it gets clogged up with messages from unsolicited callers). Annoyed by this caller's persistence, she reluctantly decides to take the call.
"Yes, who is it?" She asks irritably.
"Is that Lady Wedlock?" Says a sly voice at the other end.
"Yes," replies Lady Virginia, "and who are you?"
"Never mind that." Says the voice. "I've got a little proposition for you."
"A proposition? Who is this?" Demands Lady Virginia.
"I told you not to worry about who I am." Replies the voice.
Lady Virginia is now getting angry. "Young man," she says, "if you don't tell me who you are, I'm going to hang up."
"Oh, I think you will want to hear what I have to say." The voice says, even more slyly.
"Nonsense," exclaims Lady Virginia, "I'm hang..."
"Larry Lizzard." Interrupts the voice.
Lady Virginia freezes.
"Yes, I thought that would get your attention." Continues the voice. "You see, I followed you to his grave."
There is silence for a moment, then Lady Virginia gathers her senses. "Alright," she says, "so what is this proposition?"
"I understand," replies the voice, "that Larry had a laptop computer. I thought you might want it. You see, I've been instructed to recover it."
"Who by?" Asks Lady Virginia.
"By Edgar Venal."
Lady Virginia gasps. The name strikes fear into her heart, as it has done into the hearts of all those whose spouses have instructed Edgar Venal over the years. She daren't even think what he might do with the contents of the laptop, and quickly realises that she must stop him getting it at all costs.
"Whatever he's paying you," she says, "I'll treble it."
At the other end of the phone William Piranha's youthful face breaks into a satisfied smile. "Agreed." He says.